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Contractor and Worker Classifications Workshop

ETC's Contractor and Worker Classifications Workshop was held on March 19, 2013 at the Hagerty Conference Center in Traverse City. This workshop was presented to help you avoid expensive pitfalls and make the most of your workforce through understanding correct classification of workers. The workshop featured a panel of experts: Susan Rahn, IRS Stakeholder Liaison; Michael McPherson, HR that Works 4 U Solutions; and Janis Adams, Attorney, Employment Law, Smith Haughey Attorneys at Law.


  • Financial impact of non-compliance
  • Correct employee classification
  • Appropriate uses of contractors
  • Temporary labor
  • Job descriptions
  • Avoiding fines and penalties
  • Contract vs. non-contract workers
  • Compliance for classification
  • Exempt vs. non-exempt employees
  • Insurance considerations


VIDEO: The Employer Training Council (ETC) held a workshop in Traverse City to help businesses understand contractor and worker classifications. Topics included the difference between employees and private contractors, which employees are exempt from overtime, and the penalties for incorrectly classifying workers. Watch the video to find out more.


>>>>> Resources:

IRS Worker Classification Links (downloadable PDF)

Susan Rahn IRS Presentation (PDF) 

Michael McPherson Presentation "Contractor or Employee Classification" (PDF)

Janis Adams Handouts "Non-Exempt vs. Exempt Employee Classification" (PDF)



Presenter Bios


Janis Adams is an experienced employment law attorney in Traverse City who represents employers in all aspects of employment litigation and counseling.

Janis has defended employers throughout Michigan in state and federal courts on discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims brought pursuant to Title VII, the ADEA, ADA, FMLA, and ELCRA, as well as wrongful discharge, misappropriation of trade secrets, non-competition and non-solicitation actions, labor grievances, unfair labor practices, and arbitrations.

Janis also serves as a legal counselor to her clients. In this role, she advises employers on a wide array of employment and labor law issues including termination, hiring and discipline, development of policies and employee handbooks, conducting internal investigations, drafting and negotiating severance, non-competition, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements, unfair labor practices and union grievances. She also assists employers in the development and implementation of management practices to avoid employee-related liability and conducts on-site trainings on EEO and sexual harassment policies in the workplace. Janis is a frequent presenter to professional organizations on labor and employment law topics.


Michael McPherson, Owner and President of HR That Works 4 U Solutions is a trainer and consultant specializing in educating employers in the area of Unemployment Insurance (UI) Cost Management and Human Resource Management. For the past 7 years, Michael has worked with employers across Michigan to teach them how to effectively reduce their UI costs through better management of their Human Resources functions and improved technology. 

His experiences working in the Unemployment Industry from within the Michigan UI Agency, as a private industry unemployment administrator, owner of consulting companies and a software company devoted to UI cost and claims management, have allowed Michael to truly view this industry from all perspectives. This experience and knowledge has been utilized in putting together a truly effective UI cost management training program and has allowed Michael to help numerous employers to improve their HR processes.

Susan Rahn is a Stakeholder Liaison in Grand Rapids, MI. She works with small business associations and tax practitioners to provide information on IRS policies and procedures. 

Ms. Rahn joined the IRS in 1977 as a tax auditor in Grand Rapids. In this position, she audited individual tax returns, which included sole proprietorships and the related Federal Tax returns such as 941s. In addition to auditing, her responsibilities included training new employees and details to the local Taxpayer Service office. In 2002, she became a Tax Specialist with Taxpayer Education and Communication, which led to her current position in Stakeholder Liaison. 




"In today’s economic climate, many businesses require greater flexibility in their staffing. Some companies currently use a blend of independent contractors and direct hires to meet their needs. While that can greatly increase efficiency and flexibility, the drawback could be costly fines and penalties if the company has incorrectly classified a worker as a contractor when, in fact, they meet the definition of an employee. This seminar will give businesses the right tools to determine whether they have misclassified the employee and share methods of correcting the status.

-- Deb Vogel, Business Liaison, Northwest Michigan Works!


"There are real dollars in fines and tax obligations that can hit an organization when workers are classified incorrectly. It is worth the half-day of time to learn more on these topics and ensure you are not putting your organization at risk."

-- Jennifer Ewing, Director, HR and EH&S, AlcoTec Wire Corporation




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Ty Wessell, Leelanau County Commissioner